The whole group awoke early in the morning and rode with Jon Straw, Hommlet’s town guard archer, to the Iversen home. In investigating the fire, you found that the whole thing was torched (there was some kind of kerosene or lamp oil everywhere) and that the scene of the crime had been expertly cleaned, save a couple of partial boot marks which matched boots worn by the town guard, but in very large size.
Returning to town, a portion of the group, led by Valen, once again questioned Jessup, owner of the store. He claimed not to know who bought vast quantities of lamp oil, but appeared to be lying (statements by his stablehands reinforced this). Additionally, the other shop owner appeared prepared for violence.
While the majority of the party questioned Jessup, Gabriel led the questioning of Elmo Iversen, a giant, intellectually disabled member of the town guard, and the Iversen’s son. Once alone, Elmo confessed that he was not the town simpleton, but rather a ranger in the service of the Duke of Verbonc, sent to Hommlet under-cover to watch for stirrings from the old Temple of Elemental Evil. He accused Lt. Paul of leading the brigands who have been attacking caravans, but he’d been unable to report him for fear of blowing his cover. He didn’t know much about the specifics of the attacks, but had been used on several occasions to clean up after, including hauling the spoils to the abandoned Moathouse outside of town.
Excited, the party decided to take their findings to the mayor. At first he was alarmed but satisfied with their discovery. Problems arose, however, when the party asked him not to act on their assumptions, explained they had no proof (to protect Elmo’s undercover identity), and talked about other possibilities (and failed somewhere around 11 diplomacy checks). Angry now, the Mayor insisted the party head to the moathouse to get concrete proof one way or the other as to whether Lt. Paul was indeed the brigand leader.
The party left, heading to the moathouse on horseback. Not wanting to alarm anyone who might be watching, the stealthiest among the party (Ark, Shecky and Valen) dismounted and approached the last half mile on foot, only to be attacked by giant frogs (PTSD!). Not wanting to cause a ruckus, the three party members fought them off, but not before Shecky was swallowed whole. In the last moments of the battle, Valen called for help, bringing the armored (and loud) members of the party. Still trying to be as quiet as possible, they party healed and approached the moathouse.
The party found the moathouse unguarded, but the trackers found many signs of foot traffic. Directly inside the door, Blars was were lured by the shining of coins into a guard tower and attacked by a giant spider. Shortly thereafter, the party were lured by the sight of a locked chest into a room with a crumbling wall and were attacked by a giant lizard. Shortly thereafter, Gabriel was lured by the thought that there might be treasure in a barrel, and was attacked by a giant tick. (Later, your therapists will sense a pattern.) In trying to dislodge the tick, the party bludgeoned Gabriel into unconsciousness.
At the end of the session, the party had been exploring the Moathouse for about an hour (it’s now around 3AM) and have seen no one. As the healers awaken Gabriel from his brain-thumping unconsciousness, an eerie stillness settles over the abandoned moathouse. In the distance, frogs croak. Gabriel groans and wipes tick-blood off his face. It has been a long night, and it has barely begun.